A Visit to the Bunkyo Azalea Festival Held in Nezu Shrine in Tokyo

Written by Akira Kato
24 Apr 2017
Last update :

In this spring, cherry blossoms in Tokyo hardly faded from our sight, when the prime of other flowers is around the corner and many hanami sports are waiting for our visit. On hearing that the Bunkyo Azalea Festival is being held in Nezu Shrine in Bunkyo, Tokyo, I and my family make a tour of the shrine and join the cheerful hanami crowd.

Bunkyo Azalea Festival Held in Nezu Shrine in Tokyo

The Azalea Garden in Nezu Shrine, covering an area of about 2,000 tsubo (about 6,600 square meters) and featuring over 3,000 azalea plants of about 100 species, is a famous and representative azalea spot in Tokyo. Each year, the Azalea Festival is held there and this year (2017) will see the 48th Azalea Festival. Different varieties of azaleas vary in flowering seasons, so during the one month of the Azalea Festival, I can be greeted with a riot of color.

Homage to Garden-style Nezu Shrine

Believed to be first established about 1900 years ago, Nezu Shrine, situated in Bunkyo, Tokyo, was reconstructed by Tokugawa Tsunayoshi (the fifth shogun of the Tokugawa dynasty) in 1705 and has been designated as an Important Cultural Property of Japan.

Japan’s Important Cultural Property: Nezu Shrine
Japan’s Important Cultural Property: Nezu Shrine

Unlike other shrines that are normally solemn, Nezu Shrine has a relaxed atmosphere reminiscent of rural landscape, which enchants visitors before their stepping into the sea of blossoms.

A Brook Winding Beside a Cobblestone Path
A Brook Winding Beside a Cobblestone Path

Most of the visitors will not pay homage to the heiden (main hall) unless they have regained calm.

Karamon (Chinese-style gate)
Karamon (Chinese-style gate)
Temizuya (water ablution pavilion)
Temizuya (water ablution pavilion)
Visiting the heiden
Visiting the heiden

Enjoying the Sight of Red Blossoms and Green Trees in the Azalea Garden

After paying homage, visitors can move in the direction of the torii (a traditional Japanese gate) to get to the Azalea Garden! The picturesque sando (visiting path) leading from Sembon Torii is apparently endless.

Sando Leading from Sembon Torii
Sando Leading from Sembon Torii

I come here a little too early, when quite a few azaleas haven’t come into full bloom. But the yard in green already feels refreshing. By raising my eyes, I catch the sight of Tokyo Skytree! The lush green grove in bloom and dim Tokyo Skytree in distance form a stunning contrast.

The Lush Green Grove in Bloom and Dim Tokyo Skytree in Distance Forming a Stunning Contrast
The Lush Green Grove in Bloom and Dim Tokyo Skytree in Distance Forming a Stunning Contrast

The fairly fragrant Azalea Garden with beautiful azaleas here and there is incredibly beautiful. ♡

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While I am climbing the stone steps and appreciating lovely blossoms, I find a location suitable for taking photos...

Azalea Garden
Azalea Garden

Here it is!
Let’s ascend a height and look into the distance!
The banks of azaleas encompassing Sembon Torii look like a bewitching painting.

Banks of Azaleas Encompassing Sembon Torii
Banks of Azaleas Encompassing Sembon Torii

Basic information on the Azalea Festival Held in Nezu Shrine

During the Azalea Festival, there are a plant fair, an antique fair and some Yatai food stalls within the boundary of Nezu Shrine. In addition, I would like to recommend amazake teahouses that offer sake manju (a traditional Japanese confection), a specialty of Nezu Shrine! (Business hours: 10:00-16:30)

Amazake Teahouse and Sake Manju, a Specialty of Nezu Shrine
Amazake Teahouse and Sake Manju, a Specialty of Nezu Shrine

The 48th Bunkyo Azalea Festival Held in Nezu Shrine

Date
April 8, 2017 to May 5, 2017
Admission to the Azalea Garden
200 yen
※ Free for primary school and younger children
Open
9:00-17:30,9:00-17:30

Information of Nezu Shrine

Address
1-28-9 Nezu, Bunkyo, Tokyo
Access
5-minute walk from Nezu Station or Sendagi Station on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line or 5-minute walk from Todaimae Station on the Tokyo Metro Namboku Line
Open
9:00-17:00,9:00-17:00